New Delhi: Activist Khalid Saifi, who was detained on Wednesday from the protest site at Khureji Khas, has been sent to judicial custody for 14 days and charged under Section 307, which amounts to ‘attempt to murder’.
It is not clear on whose life Saifi has made an attempt. Consequently, activists have alleged that the charges have been concocted against him.
Most have also alleged that Saifi has been brutally beaten up in custody. He is a visible activist in the movement in opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens.
Since the violence began in north east Delhi, Saifi has been one of the leading figures who have attempted to broker peace between communities and arrange for medical care to reach those in need of it.
A video tweeted by user @nadimsiwan purportedly shows Khalid in the moments before he was detained by police. He is seen calmly walking up to security personnel and engaging in talk.
@CPDelhi @DelhiPolice please clarify on what basis #khalidsaifi has been detained. Have you detained @KapilMishra_IND yet. @RanaAyyub @ArvindKejriwal @msisodia @ravishndtv @BDUTT @SreenivasanJain pic.twitter.com/B5evGL7tYW
— Nad Eem (@nadimsiwan) February 27, 2020
Also detained from the now ‘cleared’ protest site was Ishrat Jahan, one of the main volunteers.
The Wire spoke to her lawyer Avani Bansal, who said Jahan’s bail application was turned down on Thursday.
It is yet unclear as to how many people have been detained from the site on Wednesday. The official Twitter handle of the Shaheen Bagh protests have put the number at 16, even though Bansal says it could be nearly 30.
When lawyers from the collective Indian Civil Liberties Union went to the Jagatpuri police station to meet the detained, not only were they not allowed to go in, but were slapped, verbally abused and manhandled by personnel at the police station.
“I was with the rest of the team when they started manhandling lawyers. They had started using batons as well. They were hitting my colleague Anas, and I was trying to film it, when a male cop slapped me. I screamed at him, asked him how dare he hit a woman,” Mekhala Saran, a law student and member of ICLU had told The Wire.
Saran’s accounts were confirmed by at least one lawyer who requested anonymity and other activists at the police station, one of whom sent The Wire the video he shot of the commotion with police, above.
Police were also seen breaking CCTV cameras, and tearing down the awnings and tents at the site on Wednesday. Khureji is the second anti-CAA protest venue which has been dismantled by police. The one at Jaffrabad was the first.
Protests at Khureji have been taking place off the road, since January 13. Like the Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protests, these too have been peopled mostly by locals, especially local women.
In violence that has erupted since February 23, in which members of particular communities have been targeted, at least 34 people are understood to have died and several hundred are injured.